Friday, December 28, 2012

The More Things Change...

Through codeine cough syrup fueled haze I'm writing this intro to my post at Childworks today.  I wrote it before Christmas, so I'll give you the benefit of "looking into the future" here on my blog.

How'd Christmas go this year?  We had such high hopes...

And it went well, but...

I posted this in a group on Facebook and it should give you some context:

"Croup, flu, pink eye, and ear infection are:
A) rejected reindeer names in the poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas"
B) members of the boy band "One Direction"
C) common childhood ailments
D) what the doctor says Lily is currently suffering from
E) Both C and D

Pick the answer that best fits our Family Christmas scenario."

Poor Lily was not herself.  I think we were afforded a glimpse into a "be careful what you wish for scenario".  Lily is usually so happy and spins and dances and babbles and smiles and you just wish she'd slow down for a minute and hop up on your lap and snuggle with you...until she's so sick and so sad and so lethargic that she finally does and even while you're holding her close and stroking her hair and whispering comforting words to her whimpered replies all you can think of is, "get better, little girl, I want you jumping and spinning and babbling again.  I want you off my lap and out of my arms and happy and healthy."

So much of any of the posts I write seems to return to perspective, and learning to appreciate it, and this Christmas certainly offered a glimpse of that.

Lily's still not herself.  She looks like a prize fighter, her left eye swollen by the pink eye, but she had more energy today, and slept better last night, but she's still got a ways to go.  Now, as Leslie and I slowly succumb to whatever germ cocktail she sneezed/coughed into our faces hourly over the past week, we just hope to get everyone healed before we all run out of vacation time!

It was still a very merry Christmas!

Emma acts as Lily's designated unwrapper

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Getting Into The Act - #26acts

Alright, so by now you've probably heard that in response to the Sandy Hook violence some folks in social media have started this "thing" called 26 Acts of Kindness.  In a nutshell, to mourn/pay tribute/honor the victims in Newtown, you're to dedicate a more or less random act of kindness or generosity to each.  I'm horrible with this kind stuff.  I've been meaning to "Pay it Forward" for decades now.  

Social media people do all kinds of "list" type stuff.  30 days of pictures on Instagram.  I know I'll never do that.  30 days of blogs.  I just write when the spirit moves me.  And so I typically don't participate in that kind of stuff because I know I'm too scattered or apathetic.  Most of the time I simply forget about it.  

Newtown is hard to forget.  Really hard.  Especially for someone with two kids, one of whom is about the same age as the children who were murdered.  Especially for someone who is doing his best to communicate to anyone who will listen that NO, autistic people do not plan violence.  Because my daughter, who is the same age as those children IS autistic.  And seeing the ignorance displayed in writing in public directed at people like my daughter makes it hard for me to turn away.

And so lately when I've been out and about, I've been "scouting" for someone to whom I might show a "random" act of kindness.  I get that by "scouting" it's possible I'm in some way losing the concept of "random", but I've made my peace with that.  

And every time there's some reason why I don't do a little something, and the reason is never better than "I forget at the last second" or "it's more money than I have" or I lack the imagination to turn something mundane into an act of generosity at that given moment or whatever.  

Today I went to get my haircut.  I'm off for the rest of the week until the holidays, so I'm doing "random acts of Christmas preparation", but this blog post is testament to the fact that I can't even stay on task for that.  In Supercuts (because I only get top notch Salon hair styling for myself) a woman waited her turn with her son.  I gave the woman at the register my name and she told me it would be about 10 minutes.  I remembered I had a Supercuts haircut punch card.  I retrieved it from my car and returned to the store, hanging my coat from a hook and getting out my cellphone.  I sat down and checked Facebook.  Yes, Leslie, I probably am addicted.

As I sat I read blog posts and remembered.  I glanced surreptitiously at the woman and her child.  He was Indian, or appeared to be Indian.  He had a thick head of straight black hair and looked to be about 4 or 5.  I rounded up and assigned him the age of one of the victims and immediately knew I wanted to do something "kind" for the little boy and/or his mother.  

They called the little boy back for his hair cut.  A few minutes later they called me back.  As the woman cutting my hair made small talk, I tried to think of how to make this happen logistically.  I really am uncomfortable being thanked for stuff.  I don't know why.  It just makes me feel weird.  So I had resolved that the only way I was going to go through with it, was if I finished my haircut first.  This would allow me to quietly arrange to pay for the boy's haircut and tip without getting into one of those weird, "I insist"/"No I couldn't possibly accept" sorts of situations.  I just wanted to pay the bill and slink away unnoticed.

And although it was a kid's haircut.  And although it started before my haircut started, I did finish first.  I got nervous.  I was actually feeling a little jittery now that the moment had presented itself.  I hurried to the counter to pay.  

My stylist began punching numbers.  I attempted to get her attention sotto voce, but apparently I was so sotto, that she didn't hear my voce, and she continued to ring me up without glancing up from the register.  More loudly I said, "Oh, I have a haircut card, let me get it out, so you can punch the card."  

I placed the card on the counter and then said in a slightly more audible whisper, "I'd like to get the boy's haircut too."  The stylist looked up at me confused before her brow furrowed slightly and she responded too loudly (though apparently unnoticed) "I can't do that, they may have a card too."

I was immediately disappointed I couldn't pay for his haircut before realizing that the woman thought I was trying to get extra punches on my card for the kid's haircut too.  I shook my head and tried again.  I'm aware that whispers seem sometimes to carry louder than spoken words, but I did my best to stay quiet as I told her, "No, I'd like to pay for his haircut on my bill."  

She softened immediately and said (again too loudly, and again, hopefully unnoticed), "That's very nice of you."  I ignored that, hoping she'd hurry.  "That'll be $29.90."

I wanted to make sure she didn't have to pay anything.  I added $6.00 for the tip and signed the receipt.

Here's where I'm hopeless/useless at choreographed do-gooding.  I could not think of a name to dedicate the act TO.  In my defense I've watched VERY little media coverage of this.  It makes me too sad.  Also, we don't watch the news when the kids are around, and so the names typically on the tip of MY tongue are Teddy, Bob, PJ, Charlie, Tori, Jade, Beck, Robby, Andre, Cat etc. 

Also, despite the "26 Acts of Kindness" name or the hashtag #26actsofkindness, I couldn't think how to "dedicate" this.  I really didn't want to dramatically announce, "I dedicate this act to one of the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy!"  And I didn't have a piece of paper or anything prepared (as I've seen a few folks do on Facebook or blogs).  And so I was sort of stuck.  I couldn't "dedicate" it in a way that would let the recipient know what had inspired the idea that this woman might be inspired to do something nice for someone else (had she the means) is left to the Fates.  So I said loudly, conscious that if the boy was Indian, he might not celebrate Christmas, "Happy Holidays".  

"Happy Holidays," replied the woman behind the counter (who went ahead and punched my card a couple extra times), and I hurried from the store to my car.  

Inside the car I felt a little jittery but buoyed in spirit.  I know it's such a tiny gesture.  And I know it won't make any lasting difference in this woman or this boy's life.  But I also know that I wouldn't ordinarily have done it.  I wouldn't ordinarily have looked past myself or my own in buying/gesturing/supporting.  And I know too that having done it once, it will be easier to do it again.  Practice makes perfect after all.  And so maybe in the future I'll printout some little slips of paper to leave behind like receipts.  Their recipients will perhaps be reminded by the slip that someone once did for them, and so perhaps they can do for someone too.  

I don't know.  I know that it made me feel good in my heart even as I reflect on the hugeness of Sandy Hook and how bad that makes my heart feel.  

I started the car and backed out of my parking spot.  As I drove by the front of the Supercuts, the woman came out the door and I thought momentarily that she was going to chase me down and force me to take back the money I'd paid for her son's haircut.  But I'm so glad she didn't.  She simply stood there with a big smile on her face and waved to me, mouthing the words, "Thank you."  And I waved back to her with a smile that mirrored her own and said, "You're welcome."

Get into the act.  Whether for the children who died:

Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, Olivia Engel, Josephine Gay, Ana M. Marquez-Greene, Dylan Hockley, Madeleine F. Hsu, Catherine V. Hubbard, Chase Kowalski, Jesse Lewis, James Mattioli , Grace McDonnell, Emilie Parker, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Avielle Richman, Benjamin Wheeler, or Allison N. Wyatt,

Or for the adult staff who were killed: Rachel Davino, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, Dawn Hochsprung, Mary Sherlach, or Victoria Soto.

Or just for your own heart and peace.  

And then encourage others to do the same.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Appreciating Gifts

Today over at Childswork (linked...try it and see!) I'm posting about the gifts we receive from our kids.  I don't mean the hand prints or crafts they make in school and then send home with your child for the holidays, and I don't mean the gifts you give your child money for and send them shopping with Grandparents to buy...I mean the whole "blessings" of having children kind of gifts.  It's the kind of sappy shit I don't really like talking about all that much, which means it'll probably be a big hit.  

And by "appreciating" I don't mean the whole, "Oh my god, THANK YOU, this is exactly what I was looking for!" speech people give upon unwrapping each and every apparently perfect and timely gift of socks or a sweater or whatever.  My mother taught my sister to do that growing up I think.  It never seemed to matter what I would come up with around birthdays and holidays, it was always "EXACTLY what I wanted!" and "How did you know??"  etc.  It probably fooled me for the first 15 years of my life until I got all jaded, and then it was just part of the gift opening script I knew was coming at every occasion for even the stuff that was sized wrong, or the wrong color, or whatever. 

And then when I got older and was actually working off a list complete with colors and sizes, it was less about fooling me and more about fooling my kids or something, and I'm so literal about those things that it's hard for me not to answer the whole "How did you know?" thing without saying, "Because it was on your list.  Because you told me exactly what you wanted," every time.  Actually, now that I think about it, I probably do say that every time.  This year maybe I'll change it up.  "I just totally guessed!"  Or "It came to me in a vision!"  Probably I'll catch hell about this because my sister and mother both read this blog, and it'll be before Christmas, so they'll probably change up the script proactively just to fuck with me and say something like, "What is this?  I hate this."  And then I'll have to scramble to come up with some suitable reply like, "Emma told me she thought you'd look beautiful in it.  See, Emma, I told you Gramma thought your taste sucked."  Just to make her feel guilty for playing a trick on me.  Maybe none of that will actually happen.  You have to be careful how much of what I say you actually believe.

Reacting properly to the surprise and gush of gratitude is especially hard when they buy it and wrap it themselves and then just give me the present to give to them.  Sometimes my wife does that.  She'll buy boots, because you just can't buy the right boots for a woman, unless she's a stripper, I suppose (then you just buy the tackiest boots you can find and they're perfect..."Oh Cheetah print thigh high boots that lace up the back with hot pink ribbon?  AND the 6" heels have goldfish swimming in the 4" platforms???  I LOVE them!!!"), so she picks out the boots herself.  She'll wrap them because I'm hopeless at wrapping, and then she'll act surprised for the sake of the kids when she unwraps them.  It's perfect for the lazy husband in me, because I only am required to write "To Leslie, From Jim" on the tag. 

Wow...I really strayed off topic there.  The POINT is, not that sort of appreciation.  The post is a little bit about perspective, which is a recurring theme, and a little bit about just honest to goodness surprise and bewilderment at an unexpected side effect of the whole child rearing process...special needs or otherwise.

I probably should have posted the link above, because some of you will only breeze through this anyway.  And it should link to the post so Childswork sees the traffic.  I'll go back and change that.

Anyway, here's the link:  "The Gifts We Receive"

Monday, December 17, 2012

It's NOT Autism

Recently an article was written by a mother claiming to have a child similar to the Newtown shooter.  The article doesn't flat out claim a formal diagnosis for her son, but instead "throws out some terms", one of which is "autism", and then describes behavior that, because of the reference, essentially implies that autistics are violent and disturbed.  The post went viral.  So of course every idiot with access to the internet now has at least SOME inkling in his head that autism is bad and leads to mass murder.  A blogging friend of mine, Jillsmo, had the idea of writing to her school district and just sort of laying it on the line to clarify or do damage control.  Much of this has been borrowed from Jillsmo's "template" and modified to better reflect my voice.  I sent this to the administrators and teachers of my daughter's school district.  It's more important than my usual schlock, you're free to use it or share it if you wish.

To Whom it May Concern,

There has been much discussion online and in the news about the connection between the Connecticut school shooting and early reports that the shooter may have been diagnosed with autism. As our families and our community discuss this issue and try to find a reason for this heartbreaking tragedy, it is important to remember the following: There is no connection between planned, violent behavior and an autism spectrum diagnosis of any kind.

Autism is not a mental illness; it is a developmental disability. Autistic people may sometimes have emotional regulation problems, which are impulsive expressions of frustration and anger that are immediate and disorganized. They may lash out with threatening statements or behaviors, but these behaviors are impulsive reactions, they are not deliberate or organized plans. Once the situation has been defused, the behaviors cease. What happened in Connecticut suggests methodical planning of a deliberate and violent nature; this is not behavior associated with an autistic person.

As we grapple with the unknowable ‘whys’ of this tragedy we can speculate about the mental state of the shooter, gun control laws, the current state of our country’s mental health system, God in schools or whatever else might lend context to something so horrifyingly far outside the scope of our reason, but please know, and please share with the community and the children in your care, that even if the shooter was autistic, autism is not the explanation for this tragedy.  Autism is not a violent mental illness.  Autism is not a mental illness at all.

The stigma of autism’s association with this act does the special needs community a huge injustice and forces our community's children on the spectrum to pay the price for media misinformation in the form of fear, isolation, and bullying.  Please help our community get a clear message to the people of (Redacted).

Thank you very much for your time,

Father of a daughter on the autism spectrum

What Are Kids READING These Days?

Lily was watching Hannah Montana.  Hannah was having her weekly "I'm conflicted about revealing the Hannah secret" issue because although her alter-ego Miley had good grades, her constant touring as Hannah meant that her transcript and application to Standford showed no extra-curricular activities.  Hilarity (or so one would assume) ensued. 

I found this episode to be particularly irritating because Miley, exhausted from travel, asks the woman at admissions if she can eat her sandwich because she hasn't eaten all day.  This just seemed so...stupid...and then she jams the whole thing in her mouth and attempts to answer questions as bits of half chewed sandwich cascade out of her mouth.  Ultimately she spits it into napkin.  Awful.  But I digress.

Emma, watching this for perhaps the hundredth time, said, "So can they not see she's Hannah Montana?  Same voice, same face, just a wig!" 

And I heartily agreed, "I know, it's as bad as Superman!"

And Emma replied...

"Who's Superman?"

Leslie cackled out loud at the look on my face.  I say cackled because she was unable to contain mere laughter at the expression on my face.  It laughter.  Hurtful violent laughter.  For my part I just stared numbly at my daughter thinking about all the ways in which I've failed in her education.  (She has no interest in seeing Star Wars despite my protests that she will almost certainly not be accepted to Yale if she can't pick up Star Wars references...(oh...Yale because she asked at what school Des Durant from The Voice played football, and I replied Yale, and she said, "Yale Law School" and I said, "I don't know if it was the Law School, but Yale is a great school.")).

And so this morning I told her in my own words the origins of Superman (she knew who he was at least but I guess the sticking point was that she did NOT know who Clark Kent was...or that he even HAD a secret identity).  I told her there would be a quiz, and I'm almost certainly going to buy her a Superman comic book to read.  We covered Jor-El, Kal-El, The Kents, Louis Lane, Jimmy Olson, The Daily Planet, Kryptonite, red and yellow suns, etc.  Tonight we'll discuss Metropolis, Lana Lang, The Forbidden Zone, and as many of the major super villains as possible, even if we have to turn her book report in a few days late.

Then Spiderman...cause she didn't know Peter Parker's name, or WOULDn't have if my wife hadn't muttered "Peter" under her breath...neither could come up with the last name.

Some outtakes: 
"And he'd duck into a phone booth and take off his glasses and fly away."  .
"What's a phone booth?"  (okay, she didn't really say that, but it would have been funny as shit if she had, because let's face it...where's a phone booth these days?  She DID say, "Wouldn't people just have been able to see him through the glass?"  and I replied, "These were phone booths with privacy."

"And Peter Parker works at a photographer for the Daily Bugle."
"Do all superheroes work for the newspaper?"
"Sure seems like it."

"Then there's Aquaman," Leslie added.
"What was his secret identity?"
"He didn't have one."
"Why not"
"He was always underwater."

What the hell are they teaching kids these days?


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Going to See the Fat Man

So...somehow a post I wrote last week about going to see Santa at an Autism Connection of PA event, posted without my knowledge.  Well, to be fair, it posted when it was supposed to post over at just sort of slipped from my mind.  So yesterday, slaving away for the man, I didn't even glance at it, or twitter, and it just sort of sat there and gathered dust and wondered forlornly whether it's daddy was going to visit it.

I feel so bad.  I'm sorry, post...daddy's going to visit you today, I swear.

Going to see Santa; going ANYWHERE really, requires some planning for us.  It's more than just hopping in a car and standing in line, and it is for most of the people that read this blog too.

Here's how WE do it:

"A Visit to St. Nicholas"

As a special preview of one of the tips...I'll give you a spoiler.  "Take lots of pictures".

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Finding the Right Gift!

Today I'm posting about giving over at Childswork.  More specifically, I'm posting about 1)  How to decide what to get a child with special needs (although I only really can speak for my kiddo.  I know others are different) and 2)  How sometimes gifts are more of a reflection of a giver than of the recipient.

Also, they've asked me to write weekly for them now instead of twice a month.  So that's fun.  And also they pay me for it.  So it's fun, and baby needs a new pair of shoes.  So know...there's that.

"I did not make this mess."

Monday, December 3, 2012

In Roman Times...

We had finished our breakfast.  Lily busied herself in the family room with "Chipmunk" books while Emma sat backwards (of course) in the chair and faced me.

"Mommy should wrap this clock," she said.

Leslie had wrapped a few of our smaller wall-mounted pieces of "art" the previous night and they looked very festive and Christmasy.  When she finished we had mock-criticized her that she hadn't wrapped the enormous print over the couch.  Apparently Emma felt our Christmasiness could still use a boost.

"Why would she wrap the clock," I replied?

"Well, it doesn't work anyway."

"It does too!  It just runs a little slow when the battery wears down.  Look at the time on it!"

The clock read 7:24.  For the next thirty seconds or so I listened as Emma (straight A's this past quarter) struggled to get the correct time, giggling to herself at her inability to read a 'real' clock.  She kept a running dialogue going as she attempted to work it out.

"six...twenty...., wait, it's five, ten, fifteen..."

"Em," I said, "It's past six, it's actually after seven..."

"Oh!" She laughed, continuing to work...

"REALLY??" I asked, raising my eyebrows, "How can you not tell what time it is?"  I feel like telling time on a traditional clock must be one of those things that is slowly phasing out like VCR's and CD's and GPS's and courtesy.  The only time it's ever really relevant is when a...DVD/Cable box/microwave/cordless phone/cell phone/laptop/computer/iTouch/coffee maker/whatever...isn't available.  In our family room/kitchen alone we have the time echoed on no fewer than seven appliances/devices...none of which are 'analog' time.

She looked at me in mock scorn and replied with a frustrated gesture at the clock face, "Well, I can't help it!  I can't read old people numbers!"

Old people numbers. Or, as old people like to call them:  "Roman Numerals"

Monday, November 26, 2012

I Dodged a Bullet I Fired at Myself

I don't know what the hell is wrong with me.  Fresh from our victory murdering Santa Claus in front of our 10 year old, and then essentially butchering him Buffalo Bill style and parading around in front of her in a suit of his skin (fine, we came clean about Santa, and explained that WE are Santa, essentially, but it loses a vital element of brutality if you say it that way), I decided, without really deciding, that I was going to explain how babies are made sort of against my own will.  I know that makes no sense.

I was doing dishes in the kitchen while Emma was finishing her supper and Lily played in the family room.  Emma was disagreeing with me about something I was saying.  I can't even remember what, but I decided to play dramatic.

"Oh fine...don't agree with me.  ME!  Your father, your own flesh and blood."
"Well what?
"Well why shouldn't I disagree?"
"Because I own you!  I created you!"

It was here, right at this spot, where something inside my own brain detached and inaudibly joined the conversation .  I'll bold my brain's comments.  Returning you now to the last thing...

"Because I own you!  I created you!"
Really Jim?  You're really going to bring up creating her?  HOW'D you create me dad?  Want to talk about that?  Is this conversation going according to some plan?
I'll fix it, I thought, "Well, not REALLY created you.  I mean, I had a hand in it.  Well...not a hand.  Look, I just mean, I only partly created you."
Please...Please just stop talking now.
"Yeah," she replied, "only partly, like maybe 25%."
Okay...good.  She's closed that chapter.
"25%?  How'd you come up with 25%?  Two people, one half, what's the percentage?"
Oh my god SHUT UP!!!  What the hell???

The conversation more or less died then, with the subjects of "How EXACTLY do you calculate the percentage of creation" and "What are the mechanics of said creation between a mommy and a daddy" somehow...miraculously...unasked.  But not for lack of trying on my part.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Magic Moments - Childswork

Today is my second bi-monthly post for November over at Childswork.  

Today I'm giving thanks for rare magical moments.  And it's all girly and touchy-feelie and heartfelt and crap.  So go eat that mushy garbage up, cause you never know when it'll happen's rare and magical.  

Oh!  OH!!! Do you see what I just did there??  BAM!!!  God DAMN I'm good!  Good for you Jim!  Good for you!

And if I don't post again before turkey day, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

"Thanks for the Unicorns"
More of a figurative unicorn really, but you can't take pictures of figurative unicorns.

Friday, November 16, 2012

I Can't Be Taught

I don't know if other utilities in other States do this, but here in Western Pennsylvania, Duquesne Light, as part of some program to greenify the state, or conserve electricity, or something, sends out these monthly statements that graph your power usage and compare you to your neighbors.  

Last month I got one and it I looked at my usage and then underneath it said "95".  And I was like, "SWEET!!" because we bought triple pane glass windows and they're all energy efficient, and I replaced my heat and AC last year with more energy efficient version, and I've been slowly replacing the dumb old light bulbs with the fancy curly bulbs and so clearly this was all paying off, because look how efficient we were last month!

Only then I read the little narrative that went with it, and it said, "Out of 100 homes, you are using more power than 95 of them."  So, to restate, there are only 5 houses out of 100 peers that used more than we did.

So the first thing I did was shut off all the heat and lights and power and huddled on the floor in the cold and dark and rocked back and forth because windows/ac/heat....THOUSANDS of dollars later only to still be in the 95th percentile for worst energy usage.

The second thing I did was say, "Bah!  It's marketing.  Here's the number they want me to call to learn about their new energy program.  Right....cha-ching!"  And I threw out the letter and turned the power back on.

A couple weeks later I was at work and some coworkers were talking about this same stupid scam statement and I asked what their "score" was.  

I think the one guy said he was 8.  Um.  Hmm.  So...he had the 8th best energy usage??  DAMMIT!!

A few days ago I walked through the house and was unsurprised to find that almost every light was on.  I don't know why EVERY light in the house wasn't on, that was the only surprising part, but it was too many lights.  I decided I needed to make a conscious effort to turn lights off when I leave a room.  

I held an impromptu family meeting (we were watching The Voice) and said, "Okay, starting from here on out, when you leave a room, turn out your lights!  Emma, if you leave the lights on in your room upstairs, we're going to send you back up to turn them off.  And if you bust us, we have to turn them off too!"  Emma hates having to go back upstairs, because it interferes with her "laying upside down on the couch playing with her itouch" plans, so I knew this would be very motivating.

Two days ago, with a sigh, I walked down the stairs to address Emma.

"Emma, I used to hate when my mother did this to me, but..."

"Oh no!  What did I do?"
"You left the light on in your room.  I need you to go upstairs and turn it off." 

I could have turned it off.  I obviously had been upstairs in order to observe it's un-turn-offedness...but I wanted her to "learn".

All of this was accompanied by a flashback to a memory I had of my mother standing in the kitchen of our house on North Avenue, Columbus, Montana, and saying to me, "Jim, you didn't turn the light off in your room."  My room was just down the hall.  I was eating breakfast at the counter.

"Can't you turn it off for me?"

"How are you ever going to learn if I do it for you?"
"I just forgot.  It's not like I don't know HOW to do it.  You're standing right there!"
"Fine, but this isn't teaching me how to turn off lights."

*sigh, ponderously climb to my feet, walk down the hall slowly and heavily, dramatically flick the switch off with a flourish, turn around, return to the kitchen sit down heavily, sigh, and shake head.*

"Thank you."

I remember thinking how stupid the whole exercise was.  

To Emma's credit, she was much more respectful.  When she came back down, I thanked her, "Remember, Emma, if you catch US leaving lights on, let us know and we have to go back up and turn them off too!"  I think that softened the blow of having to move.

Last night Emma sat down on the couch and said to me, "You guys left the light on in your bathroom."

"Did we?  Hmm, I'll have to go turn that out."  I walked up the stairs to find that the bathroom lights were indeed on.  I shut them off and came back downstairs.  "Thanks, Em."

See mom, I told you.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Giving Thanks

Today I'm giving thanks over at Childswork.  And more than likely it's you I'm thanking.  That's right.  YOU.  I mention you practically by name.  Sort of.  Don't get so caught up in the name thing.  I didn't mention your name.  I wanted to, but I couldn't.  The um. . . law forbid it.  Or something.

Anyway, thank you for being you, and go read all the nice things I said about you and the things you've done for me and my family.

"People Who Get It"

This is a giant hamburger of awareness that I recently ate.
This post needed some awareness.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Thing in My Basement

You may have noticed that the background and color scheme have changed a bit around here…this is short term, Halloween-related stuff.  We'll return you to happy pastel pinks and purples after the “holiday”.

Halloween is the perfect time to bring up the thing that lives in my basement and thirsts for my family’s blood.  The following is a true story:

When Emma was 5 or 6 years old she hated going downstairs alone into the basement.  I think pretty much all kids are afraid of going to the basement, but Emma was really afraid. I remember reading that one of the best things you can do for kids is to not discount their fears, but to be understanding of them, and explain why there’s nothing to fear, but to just allow them that.  So I would go with her into the basement. I told her I understood that she was afraid, and that I was afraid when I was her age too, and that it was no big deal if she wanted company and that made her feel less afraid.  And in fact, that’s all she wanted.

For perhaps a year or so I would always accompany her downstairs. No biggie.  But by the time she was 7 or so I began trying to wean her off that, standing at the top of the stairs and watching for her to come back and only making her do little quick chores where she’d only be out of sight for a few seconds.  I’d talk to her while she was down there so she always knew I was still watching.

And I think for the most part she was fine with that. . . but then after a few months she again told me she was afraid of the basement. And again I was understanding. . . but I asked her, "Why are you so afraid of going into the basement all alone?"

"Because I hear whispers when I'm down there alone."

 I kept my voice calm and sort of laughed. . . like no biggie. . . everyone hears whispers. . . houses creak, the wind blows. . . whatever. But it was a little freaky.  I don’t think I ever heard whispers as a kid.  Absolutely heard the house creak when I was alone.  Absolutely heard rustling or scratching at the window panes, that sort of thing, but not “whispers”. 
Hungry Ghost
Not really the same thing at all.

I said, "What do the whispers say?"

And she replied, and I'll never forget this because a chill literally went up my spine, "They just keep calling my name. . . "

And I'm really not a believer in that kind of shit, but I talked to people who were and they said. . . "If you have something in your house. . . you need to address it. You need to tell it that your family is off limits. That it needs to move on. That you won't accept it reaching for your children."

 And I said, "I don't believe in that shit."

 And they said, "Then you'll all die."

The End.

Okay, they didn't actually say we'd all die. 

But it got in my head a little bit, both the conversation with friends, but also the talk with Emma about whispers in the darkness.  Something in the basement wanted my daughter’s attention.

And it would get in further in my head when there’d be strange “dead smells” coming from the stairs.  And my wife would be like, “Can you find whatever it is that died down there and get rid of it?” My mind would return to the conversation with Emma about the thing in the basement that whispered her name.  And the thing that died in the basement would transform from a mouse or a snake into that thing, that hungry ghost.

The Ring
The Ring...
I would "challenge" myself by dismissing it all as ridiculousness and turning all the lights off, maneuvering myself disdainfully through the basement blackness to prove perhaps to myself that it really wasn't in my head, that I was no more afraid of this thing in my basement than I was of the dark.  But even as I would climb the darkened steps, the light behind the closed door above would frame it and I would remember the scene in "The Ring" where they locked the little girl in the well and boarded it up, leaving her only the ring of light at the edges of the cap to see as she died.  Or...mostly died.

Back then I was running at night on the basement treadmill.  Everyone in the house would be asleep.  Sometimes it would be 10:00 or even 10:30 p.m  before I’d even start my run.  It could be a bit spooky in the basement.  The light at the bottom of the stairs had a shitty fixture with a bad connection and one or two of the bulbs would occasionally flicker and go off or turn on.  I’d be running and all of a sudden, there’d be more light, and I’d glance up from the movie I was watching, or the treadmill’s control screen and wait for someone to come downstairs before realizing that it was just the stupid fixture flickering on or off.  Or maybe I’d even say, “Who’s there?” or “Les, is that you?”

spooky basement
Not my basement, but wouldn't be surprised
to learn SOMEONE had been murdered here.
It’s weird how ‘addressing an empty room’ can feed your fear and give it shape, how saying, “Who’s there?” out loud can create doubt or manufacture frightening possibilities in your mind where once there were none.  Once you were alone in the basement, now you are perhaps not alone. 

But, as the stair light flickered out, I was reminded of my ghost problem and I literally, on my treadmill, watching movies, paused the fucking movie at 10:30 or 11:00 at night and, feeling simultaneously ridiculous and also mildly freaked out, "addressed" the thing in my basement that was calling my daughter's name.

It was one of those stupid (or wise) Pascal’s Wager moments, where my love for my family outweighed the immense ridiculousness I felt at speaking out loud to phantoms that existed only in my daughter’s mind.  But the benefit outweighed the “risk”.

I was very respectful and told it that I loved my family and that I understood it was here with us in the house and sharing our space, but that it wasn’t allowed to contact us because it was scaring my little girl and because if it continued to talk to her I would find a way to expel it from the house. 

And by saying it out loud my mind opened to the possibility that such a thing could exist in my basement, and forced me to consider the possibility that I really had no “Plan B” except I suppose to summon a priest or something. 

In the winter I always ran with the window open so the cold air could filter into the room and the fan would cool me off while I ran.  I could see my breath puffing out slightly at the cold air coming in. 

And something detached itself from the wall near the fuse box by my TV, and I heard a soft hiss of breath and a gust of “smoke” and it advanced on me where I stood straddling the belt of the treadmill, backpedaling reflexively. 

Okay, that last paragraph didn't really happen.  There was no visible spirit, no cold gust, no angry hiss, no breathy sigh of hungers disappointed…just an empty room with a flickering light. 

And you know what?

It didn't do any good at all. Three years later she's still scared of the damn basement and the whispers.  And now I am too.

Happy Halloween.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Today I'm posting (note I did not say "guest" posting) a "Meet the Blogger:  Jim Walter" introductory post at Childswork/Childsplay.  I am finally legit, y'all!  I'm no longer the filthy little secret that Childswork is keeping from its wife.  They liked it.  And they put a ring on it.  Oh oh oh.

I'm seriously horrible with analogies.

I'm now an official employee of Childswork/Childsplay with a regular twice-monthly blog post on themed topics for their blog page along with a couple other bloggers:

Jessica Watson, whose personal blog is here:  Four Plus an Angel
Rob Gorski, who also blogs here:  Lost and Tired
Dr. Whitney Roban, founder of SLEEP-EEZ KIDZ

Now, don't ask me for their autographs, I don't know them all that well yet, but when I do, I promise headshots and "best wishes" for every collector.

What I really love about the assignment is that each blogger covers the same theme.  You get several unique perspectives on parenting/coping/accommodating/whatever from people who are living the dream right along with you!  Probably mine will go off on a tangent at some point, but that's what's great about me!  SQUIRREL!

It needed a picture.  (Lily reading "Jakes Learns the Tooth")

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hate Speech is Alive and Well on Twitter

This blog is almost entirely written about my family and specifically focuses on Lily and special needs.  So today I'm directing you someplace less Jim's-family-centric and a little more. . . general.

Ann Coulter posted something last night on twitter that I found offensive, and I wanted to write about it, but I felt like I needed that general forum to attempt to get folks who are not so focused on special needs kids/families/politics, so I've posted on and would really appreciate you swinging by and giving it a look.

Here's the tweet:

Maybe you still think that 'retard' is okay.  Maybe you don't get "all the hubbub".  Maybe you don't understand how folks in the special needs community view that word.  I encourage you to visit the Sprocket site and see.

Here's the Sprocket Ink link:  Acceptable Speech?

Visit Jillsmo's blogpost if you would like to link up your own article/opinion regarding this here:  This is Who You Insult With Your Words

Thanks all,

Friday, October 19, 2012


This is not a cry for help, but a post about crying for help.

It's hard to ask for help.  I've mentioned before that opening up isn't really something I do a lot (in person) but I'm learning.  Asking for help is related to that.  Asking for help is like opening up about weakness.  Asking for help sometimes feels like a personal failure.  Asking for help implies not being able to handle something "on my own".  And although what it feels like and what it is are often two very different things. . . it's hard to overcome the idea that needing help isn't some kind of failure.

Leslie's the same way about asking for help.  She gets more practice though, because I think she recognizes how uncomfortable asking for help is for me, and so she takes it upon herself to ask instead.

  • Can you help with the kids?  
  • Can you pick Lily up from the bus?
  • Can you drop Emma off at dance while we take Lily to therapy?  
  • Can you babysit so we can go out to dinner with friends?  

Each new request seems like more of an imposition than the last, and all of those requests for help seemed to default to her until I started noticing how much they stressed her out and vowed (silently to myself. . . I like to surprise) that I would start asking people more often.  And I do ask more often, but not more often than Leslie does.

In the autism blogosphere we talk a lot about "literal thinking" because in a lot of cases it applies to the diagnosis.  Leslie and I find that, at least with regard to asking for help, or accepting help, we tend to be very literal.  We need a lot of help, so I sometimes think that when it's offered in the context of "do you need us to. . . ", we scrutinize the concept a little too literally trying to decide if by accepting help when we want it but don't need it. . . we're perhaps going to "run out" of help when we literally need it, like offers of help are a zero sum equation and we've reached our limit.

It's nothing our family or friends are projecting on us. . . it's completely just how we're wired.  When you need a lot of help, the more you ask the more you try super hard not to ask again unless it's REALLY important, and you try to "save up" for when you really need it.  Sometimes the whole thing is made better when you aren't given a choice of whether you want help. . . it's just forced on you.  It makes it feel less like you're being a burden.

My wife underwent her final radiation treatment for "the recurrence" last week, and she's suffering for the accumulation of treatment this week.  Think of a beach vacation, when you walk in the house after a long day in the sun you look in the mirror and say, "Uh oh, looks like I got a little red!" then walk by the mirror an hour later and say, "Holy shit, I'm fried!". . . and apply that concept to 28 days of concentrated radiation.  Or, think of the worst sunburn you've ever had, only instead of it just blistering and peeling the top layer of skin, it goes all the way through your chest and out your back, weakening and embrittling even your bones.  She's got blister cream and prescription soaks and god knows what else. . . pain medicine so she can sleep through the night. . . cortisone. . . and she has to deal with my shit.

And she's tired.  And sick.  And her job said (I wasn't there, so I'll paraphrase), "Leslie, go home and rest.  You're forbidden to come back until next week."  And it came without a choice or a consequence, and so it felt less like she was taking "one more day off" or "one more day working from home" and became more of "they said I have to do this. . . so I will."  Less guilt. . . easier to accept.

Leslie's mother called me at work yesterday and asked me if they could help last night.  I didn't honestly know how to answer her.  Leslie had told me she was feeling about the same as she had the previous day, but the previous day she'd worked.  I really wasn't sure she needed the help.  I told her I'd call Leslie and find out if she thought she needed it.

It was there that I sort of failed the whole process.  I had the help.  It was right there.  It was being offered, it's not like I had to go out and ask for it, but then I said to Leslie, "Leslie, your folks have offered to help this afternoon if you need it.  Do you need them to come over and help with Lily and Em til I get home?"

Did she need the help?  She said no.  Why?  Because she didn't.  Not really.  Need?  No. . . need's too strong a word.  Would help have been . . . helpful?  Would it have been awesome?  Would it have given her a chance to get some damn sleep?  Sure. . . but she didn't need it, and so she said no.  And suffered through it.  And I. . . I let her.

When I got home last night my wife talked to me when we had a free moment and told me tiredly what I (of all people) should have known. . . "Don't ask if I 'need' help anymore, okay?  Just tell me who's helping."  And I got it.  We talked about the whole idea of "needing" versus "really really wanting" and how sometimes when you balance how much help we seem to request "need" takes on an almost literal definition.  "Need" becomes "I'm physically unable to move and require assistance" instead of. . . "I'm really sapped of strength, and Lily keeps hitting me on the radiation burns and I can't fend her off and rest at the same time and, and, and. . . "

Thanks everyone for helping when we've asked, and for offering when we haven't.  I have a feeling we won't be turning it down too much over the next couple weeks. . . we need to get over ourselves in that respect; we need to stop defining need quite so literally, or recognize that there actually is a literal need right now.

Here's me in a magical unicorn mask (because it felt like this post needed it)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Big Timin' It VI - Childswork Guest Post

Today I'll be visiting Childswork-Childsplay.  It's a website devoted to "addressing the behavioral, social, and emotional needs of children."  They also have a section of their site for blogs.  That's where I'll be.  The topic is "Marriage with Special Needs Children."  I'll be replying to comments there, so please swing by, read it through, and give me a thumbs up...or down, or bless me with your marital/parenting insights!

Flush the sporns,


Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Tooth about Sporns

See. . . missing toof.

When Lily lost her top tooth my friend Bec sent my daughters a present.  It was a book she wrote to promote inclusion and acceptance of special needs kids, and it was (and is) called Jake Learns the Tooth.  It was about losing teeth, and the tooth fairy, and illustrated by kids!  And she thought given Lily’s love for books, and the subject matter, she’d really like it!  (and she did).  What I somehow failed to register was that Bec lives in Australia.  So it was sort of amazing to see it show up complete with book (for Lily) and a calendar of animals down under (for Emma).  Because I was trying to be discrete (First.  Time.  Ever.  It’s totally overrated) I was sort of cryptic with my acknowledgement.  I didn’t want people knowing she’d sent a gift for the kids because then maybe all her fans would be pissed that THEY didn’t get gifts for their kids.  The unfortunate side effect was that it made it look like we were involved in some sort of illicit trade.  The following occurred on her facebook “wall”.  I'll add the . . . "directors comments" in bold.

Jim Walter:  A package was received. . . it was filled with goodies. LOVE it! Also. . . and this is probably going to make me sound a little dull. . . I had no idea this was an international shipment.

Bec: Could that sound more dodgy? I think not :)

Jim Walter: You're all secretive and stuff. . . I didn't want to say too much. BUT. . . it does sound pretty dodgy. What kind of operation are you running here, anyway?

Bec: LOL secretive. Yeah that makes it sound WAY less dodgy.

Jim Walter:  You worry too much. What about "secret package that SOMEhow made it through customs" sounds dodgy?

And then. . . THIS happened.  A woman who had seen my Target post (which explains that I have an autistic daughter, and which has been seen by many many people) decided to peddle autism snake oil to me.  Her name has been changed to protect her. . . um. . . innocence, or whatever.

Shady McShaderson:  Jim please watch the video Then message me for more info on autisim. You really need to watch this right now - thank you.

I ignored it.  Bec then sent me an email that night saying I had groupies and that there was a woman who REALLY needed me to watch something and send her a message right away.  She screen capped it. . . and I forgot about it.

Over the course of the next couple days other people approached me.  Shady wasn’t able to leave a message on my page because we weren’t friends, but she sent them the same message she left Bec:  Please have Jim watch the video right away.  Please have him message me. 

I can’t remember what prompted me to return to Bec’s page and look for comment except that I love reading her blog on, and so I’d pimped it out to a few friends and was telling them to read her stuff on autism, which is really cleverly addressed, short, sweet, funny, and really informative.  And I found it again.  And because I was bored and it was lunch time and I had to kill some time, I picked up the thread I’d dropped and decided to have a little fun with it.  I’d visited her page and already knew that what she wanted me to watch was something extolling the virtues of “protandim” and that she was in fact, a direct seller OF protandim.

Jim Walter: why do I need to watch it? And what information do you think I need on autism? This is all very mysterious.

Shady McShaderson:  Have you watched the video I sent you?

Jim Walter: have. . . have you answered the question I asked you?

Shady McShaderson:  Jim go to Type in oxidative stress and autism to see studies done. Protandim reduces oxidative stress 40% to 70% in all mammals 100% of the time.

Mammals?  What the . . .

Shady McShaderson:  The reason I sent this is due to your post about autism. 

Jim Walter what's protandim? Is that orange juice?

At this point I had decided to play the sporns card.  For a quick refresher. . .  Flush the Sporns!

Shady McShaderson:  No Jim Protandim is what is talked about in the ABC Prime Time Investigative Report. Please watch the video and go to

Jim Walter: is it to rid the intestines of sporns? My daughter is already being treated for sporns.

Shady McShaderson:  That I can't tell you, however I can find out some information for you.

Jim Walter:  One treatment at a time, I think. Once we've flushed the sporns, we can look at other treatments, but I think you'll agree, sporns first, diet second, THEN polish it off with some oxidative stress relief!

Shady McShaderson:  Does this mean you watched the video? You can help a lot of people look into this.

And I couldn’t keep her to myself. . . it wouldn’t have been fair.  I invited friends.

Jill Smo: Jim... have you watched the video about sporns that I emailed you?

Jim Walter:  that's how I got on the citric flush treatments, Jill.

Jim Walter:  Shady, how did YOU learn about Protandim? It's not exactly a household name, like sporn flushing.

Jill Smo: If you want, you can message me for information about autism. I happen to know quite a bit about it, what with me having a product to sell and all

Jim Walter: I was reading some of the information I could find about it on the internet and saw that it's used for mammals. My daughter IS a mammal, or at least her doctor has told me as much, so it MAY actually be useful for her!

Bil Hooper: ‎Jim... I am so glad you told me about the Sporns! I have an appointment to get my son sprayed next month, and tomorrow we start the UV HyperD and Vitamin C flush. Like you said, his lucidity and engagement is *markedly* different; plus he's complaining _a lot_ more than usual.

Jill Smo: See, I knew that the "being a mammal causes autism" theory was right

Shady McShaderson:  Yes it will be useful for her!

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: OMG. IM A MAMMAL!!! Cue panic attack in 3...2...1... I blame the evil, evil sporns.

Shady McShaderson:  All of us have oxidative stress and can benefit from Protandim. Watch the video at www.abchealthreport. Com. Then go to and type in oxidative stress and panic attacks for example and will show studies done.

Jill Smo:  So, Shady, are you aware of how one could purchase said product, which appears to have an amazing ability that I'm sure you're just telling us about out of the goodness of your heart?

Shady McShaderson:  Jim I started on Protandim a year and a half ago due to I have had problems with my lungs since moving from NV desert to the AZ desert. I have been in the hospital twice and on and off steroids to help me breath. In May of this year when doing breathing tests 2 have improved from a year ago and I have stayed out of the hospital and have not been on steroids all the time.

Two of her many lungs have improved by using Protandim!  AMAZING. 

Bil Hooper:  Just a thought-- is it possible to smoke Protandim?

Jill Smo:  Oh, yeah, I would totally smoke it

Bil Hooper:  I heard smoking relieves stress.

Jill Smo I've heard that, too!!! I watched a video about it

Shady McShaderson:  Jill Smo yes you can go to my site to order this. www.LifeVantage. com/ShadyMcShaderson. If you want to purchase a bottle you will want to click on "join LifeVantage" on the green box then the next page you will click "preferred customer". Honestly I'm sharing this information with you cause it is important to let people know about this product and how it will help them!

NOT because she sells it for a living!

Shady McShaderson:  Bill-no smoking Protandim!!! It is a pill!!!

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead:  Dying.  Just...dying.

Jim Walter:  My daughter has problems with pills. Is it possible to freebase or snort protandim?

It made me actually laugh out loud at myself to type that question.  Nobody is more amused by me than I am.

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead:  Oh look. I'm dead.

Bil Hooper: Even better.

Charity Lyn Bedoy:  Is Shady trying to say if we purchase her product it will "cure" our childrens autism?

Jill Smo: You can crush up a pill and then smoke it. Or so I've heard

Shady McShaderson:  You can crush the pill and put in applesauce or whatever and swipe it that way. Many people do this for their dogs cats and horses.

And that was when Shady compared giving supplements to children with autism to giving pills to their dogs/cats/horses. . . without any understanding of the implication.  And frankly, I don’t think she meant anything by it.

Jim Walter: hmmm. . . can it replace dog/cat/horse food in my daughter's diet, or should I still be feeding her that stuff as well?

Shady McShaderson:  Chariots-- Protandim does not cure or prevent. It is scientifically proven to reduce the oxidative stress that is the root cause of many diseases.

Charity Lyn Bedoy: ‎^^^^ AHAHAHAHA

Charity seemed unconvinced by Shady . . .

Shady McShaderson:  Charity-/ sorry my fingers spelled your name wrong!!

Stupid fingers. . . do you know if you take Protandim it makes your fingers better spellers?

Jill Smo:  Jim you can't cut out the dog food diet. I saw a video that said it was the BEST thing you could do for your kid

Charity Lyn Bedoy: I push my dogs pills in cheese and toss it in the air and they inhale it!

Shady McShaderson:  Well Jim that's up to you on her diet!!!!

Jim Walter:  yeah, probably better keep the dog food in there at LEAST.

Jill Smo:  Dog food has essential, um... corns

Shady McShaderson:  HAHAHA

I started to suspect she might actually know we were fucking with her. . .

Jim Walter:  plus it keeps my daughter's coat shiny.

Bil Hooper:  ‎Jim, she means that you can obviously freebase/crush/snort a pill OR sneak it into food.

Jim Walter:  Hey, Bec, I want to thank you for emailing me the comment, I might have missed it otherwise.

Because Bec is in Australia. . . she’s sleeping through this entire exchange, all of which is occurring on her Facebook page.

Patty Porch-Hooper: So wait, doesn't this verify the theory that breathing oxygen causes autism????

Shady McShaderson:  You are funny!! Just check out the science behind Protandim! Any questions send to me at my email or message me in f/b

She’s GOT to be onto us at this point.

Linda Kimpton: I have learnt soooo much from this discussion. I'm off to the supermarket for orange juice, and dog food, and we're going to get right on to reducing my son's oxygen so he has less oxidative stress! Cross your fingers, he could be cured by the weekend!

Linda’s also an Aussie. . . but she was awake.  Why so sleepy all the time, Bec?

Bil Hooper:  If that were true, my horse would have autism.

Jim Walter:  if your horse has autism. . . have you seen the video on Also, visit . .

Patty Porch-Hooper ‎Bil Hooper, I'm pretty sure ole Sparky DOES have autism. Ever notice how he never makes eye contact?

Charity Lyn Bedoy: ‎@Shady in 30 alcoholics. woohoo well if it worked on them I'll give it to my boy!! How about you have them pass FDA studies and maybe I'll think about it.

Okay. . . on a more serious note, what Charity is referring to here is the information on Protandim.  Because it is considered a supplement and not a drug, FDA does not need to approve it.  Also, according to what I read, protandim was only ever used in trials on human beings twice.  Nothing more recent than 2006.  In one study, they used it on recovering alcoholics.  From Wikipedia

“Human clinical studies
Two studies of Protandim have been conducted in human subjects. One of these studies, a non-randomized, non-controlled trial, reported that Protandim increased the levels of the antioxidant enzymes SOD and catalase while reducing TBAR levels.[7][21]
The second study, a double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial published by McCord and colleagues in 2012, examined the effect of Protandim on pulmonary oxidative stress and alveolar epithelial permeability in 30 recovering alcoholics.[22] Protandim (14 subjects at a dose of 1350 mg/day; double the daily dose recommended by the manufacturer) or placebo (in 16 subjects) were administered for 7 days. Relative to placebo-treatment, Protandim had no significant effects on alveolar epithelial permeability or on oxidative stress, epithelial growth factor, fibroblast growth factor, interleukin-1β, and interleukin-10 levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Treatment with placebo, however, produced a significant reduction in plasma levels of TBARS, a marker of oxidative stress (i.e., lipid peroxidation).”

In other words, of the two human trials conducted, one was non-controlled, not randomized reported success (paid for by the manufacturer).  The other reported no significant reduction in oxidative stress, just on a MARKER of oxidative stress. 

Jim Walter: I'm not sure whether my daughter is an alcoholic though. . . even though I AM convinced she's a mammal, or at least has mammalian tendencies. . . will it still work?

Shady McShaderson:  Linda please watch the video and let me know your thoughts!

I tried to return the discussion to what was important. . . getting Bil and Patty’s horse proper treatment for his autism.

Jim Walter: how is he in social situations?

Patty Porch-Hooper: And Linda Kimpton I have heard that plastic bags are good for reducing oxygen levels. Hey! Plastic bags cure autism!

Linda Kimpton: OMG Patty, I was totally going to get free plastic bags when I bought the OJ and the dog food! This works out perfectly!

Shady McShaderson‎:  @Charity Since Protandim is NOT a drug FDA doesn't need to be involved- it is 5 natural ingredients. As far as alchemical the damage done to their cells Protandim will help.

Jim Walter: Thank god we don't need to worry about the FDA interfering with treatment.

Shady McShaderson:  Jim and all others-you need to look at this and the science behind it

Patty Porch-Hooper:  Social situations? Well, he bites people’s fingers and flaps his tail a lot. I'm pretty sure he's stimming.

Jim Walter:  biting is NOT acceptable. Have you done any ABA type stuff with him?

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead Ooh goody! I have plastic bags! Autism beware. By the way I rose

Cynthia was struggling with her cell phone. . . it kept posting to Facebook before she’d finish what she was typing.

Bil Hooper: I'm totally overwhelmed now. I need to smoke.

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead:  From the dead after I bought Shady's product. It works!

Jim Walter:  Try smoking protandim!

Charity Lyn Bedoy: Shady there is no science behind it, that’s why it isn’t sold as anything other than a "supplement" it can’t be sold as a prescription or actually claim to "cure" because it doesn’t. I'd have better luck taking him to a O2 bar daily.

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead Protandim: cures death.

Jim Walter: have you TRIED taking him to an O2 bar?

I played my Jenny McCarthy card.  Because frankly, if Charity hasn’t taken her son to an oxygen bar daily in order to cure his oxidative stress (which according to Shady is the cause of MANY diseases) then frankly, she’s not a warrior mother. . . clearly she’s just in this for the attention.  <--sarcasm.

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: Oxygen causes death.

Shady McShaderson:  Charity you are wrong! Go do some research on it!

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: Studies show that 100% of people who inhale oxygen die. True story.

Charity Lyn Bedoy: No Jim but I think I WILL!! Because geez that must be it!! Come on everybody lets go!!!

Bil Hooper:  Flush Sporns!

Jim Walter:  Wait! before we go. . . let's review the science behind it. Have they tried it on mammals or alcoholic humans?

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: Umm Chariot? I'll go with you- but only for sporn flushing research.

Shady McShaderson:  Until you do the research on it you don't know what you are talking about. I'm just sharing the information with you.

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead:  No. What you're doing is attempting to sell snake oil. Nice try though. Best laugh I've had in a while. Carry on.

I think this is the point where Cynthia starts to snap. 

Flannery Sullivan: I'm worried about my child's oxidation. Does anyone know if a product that would help that?

That line made me laugh out loud like child.

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead:  Snake oil causes oxidation.

Jim Walter:  wait. . . you want ME to do the research on it? Using my daughter?

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead:  Flannery- carbon dioxide.

Shady McShaderson:  ‎@ Cynthia. Research it then talk to me.

Dawn Hentrich I...can't...breathe...too much WIN.

Dawn’s oxidative stress started to rise. . .

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: Or a tinted shield.

Shady McShaderson:  Jim. Research the sites!

And STILL she bravely fights on!!

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: Yes. I'll be sure to do that. I'll ignore my background in health science first.

Flannery Sullivan: What if my son will only eat the dog biscuits, but not the actual kibble? Should I try him on the wet food?

Charity Lyn Bedoy:  ‎@Shady well if of course I'll believe the "research" your company did.  While I am at it I am going to by the Tummy Tuck Belt too!!

Jim Walter:  I can't now. . . I have to go home. As it is, I've stayed 15 minutes past when I'd normally leave. Thank you, Shady. Really.  For everything.

Shady McShaderson:  If you Cynthia have that background you will find the research interesting.

Shady McShaderson:  You ate welcome Jim and send me an email

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: Ooh that tummy tuck belt. I was THISCLOSE to ordering that last night but I was too oxidized to get to the phone. Please order two. Thanks. You're a pal.

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: I did NOT eat Welcome Jim. I resent that remark. I did however eat all of the Mallomars. Does that count?

Shady McShaderson:  ‎@ charity. Go to the site and you will see the universities that did their own studies

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead:  That's why I need the tummy tuck belt.

Shady McShaderson:  Jim sorry-- you are welcome!

Such a sweet girl.

More lols followed. . .

Flannery Sullivan What if the wet dog food gives him the runs. That's why I stopped giving it to the dog.

Charity Lyn Bedoy:  ‎@Cynthia we can wear them at the O2 bar!!

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: We will be HAWT!  I hope they come in matching colors to coordinate with our nasal cannulas.  I'd hate to clash.

Charity Lyn Bedoy: ‎@Flannery well you know maybe you'll have to alternate between the cheese and wet dog food

Flannery Sullivan: Wait, Shady. Is your product for dogs also? Because my dog won't make eye contact or chase the ball, he just seems like he's in his own world.

Flannery Sullivan: I love my dog enough to do whatever it takes to make him like the other dogs.

Charity Lyn Bedoy:  ohh mine too!! And he is afraid of the wood floors in my bedroom cries like a lil baby!!

Shady McShaderson:  ‎@Flannery. Many people are giving it to their dogs, cats, horses and it is helping them! What does your dog have?

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: My dog is afraid of everything too! He chases balls though. Maybe he isn't that far gone yet.

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: And then my head exploded. Omfg

Uh oh. . . no. . . no THIS is when Cynthia started to get pissed.  I’m almost certain.

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: AAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHH


Flannery Sullivan: Shady, he might have worms. I also worry a lot about Rickets.

Shady McShaderson‎:  @ Flannery email me at

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: Yes Flannery. Get on that, wouldya?

Charity Lyn Bedoy:  ‎@Shady will it cure dumbassness? Because I know people that suffer from that and I think it's caused from a lack of O2 because their heads are up their booties..

Flannery Sullivan: Should I send pictures of my dog for diagnostic purposes?

Charity Lyn Bedoy: ‎Daniel you MUST purchase this not medication but supplement for your boy.. It's not FDA approved and it works on humans and animals.. HURRY it will cure his oxidative stress!! We have decided to use wet dog food to give it to our kids... what do you think?

Shady McShaderson‎:  @ Flannery if you would like

Then Cynthia lowers the boom on sporn flushing.

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: Shady - Wow. I've gone from amused to pissed the hell off now. Bad move. Bad. You think its ok to peddle your nonsense that has not been tested safely AND you think it's ok to try to manipulate parents into using their children as guinea pigs for your own financial gain. I have no doubt you will sell that crap to some desperate, uninformed parents. You will no doubt make money from those desperate enough to administer bleach enemas to their kids. You make me sick. I don't know how you can look at yourself in the mirror. You are nothing but a bottom dwelling parasite and deserve to be treated that way. You disgust me and you should be ashamed of yourself. don't even bother responding. I'm out.

It probably had to be said. . .

But I SUSPECT Shady extricated herself quickly from the discussion at that point.  I never saw another response.  That didn’t stop the party from continuing in her honor, however.

Flannery Sullivan: Cynthia, I have to cure my dog's Rickets and autism. It's like you don't care about my dog, or his sporns.

Charity Lyn Bedoy: ‎@Flannery your dog can go to the O2 bar with us and wear a tummy tuck belt!!!

Charity Lyn Bedoy: ‎@Cynthia, she reminds me of Snake oil salesman..

Jim Walter: Wait a minute...I wonder if she's friends with the sporns guy!

Charity Lyn Bedoy: Maybe she IS the sporns guy!!!

Jim Walter: I'll bet if we watch it tells us.

Jill Smo: OH GOD. Can't... breathe.... *gasp*

Sporns killed Jill Smo at that point.

Charity Lyn Bedoy: Maybe it will tell us where Hoffa is buried, where the money from D.B. Cooper is buried (I could use it) tell me if Bigfoot is real and if so where I can find him because I'd like to photobomb the bastard, if Elvis and Tupac still alive (I think they must be with Carmen SanDiego and Waldo) settle once and for all the JFK conspiracy, why my cats sleep all day and think my bed is a rave at night...

Jim Walter:  I don't think the science shows that....

At this point, people started sharing the thread and more and more people started reading it. . . and Bec slept on. . . soooo sleepy.  While I hate to leave anyone out, I WILL link to the thread at the end of this post so you can decide to visit if you wish.  There are some really funny lines delivered after the fact, and let’s face it, if you’re reading this, you could use a few laughs at the expense of sporns-flushing salespeople.

And then Bec woke up with some BS about going to bed really late and THAT’s why she didn’t see the post. . .

Bec:  Okay people WTF IS GOING ON??? I was up until 3AM trying to work out why FB is dicking me over and deleting all of September from my timeline and I wake up to confused right now...

Jim Walter:  I um...remembered you told me someone wanted to talk to me...

Charity Lyn Bedoy: Shady is a wonderful lady trying to sell us these amazing pills that will cure any mamal of pretty much anything that ails ya

Bec:  ‎* drags tired ass all the way to top of comments to work out if armageddon has happened due to bacon shortage *

Charity Lyn Bedoy:  umm we are making plans for that.. shhh it's a secret!!

Bec:  OH. MY. GOD. It's like Christmas morning and Santa just brought me the BEST PRESENT EVER!!

Bec:  Thank you Santa Jim.


Bec:  This is the best party I've turned up 5 hours late to when everyone is passed out drunk on my lawn! Oh and there's a chance I may have flagged some of you as spam because I'm half asleep and my brain is playing some serious catch up here, I can't be expected to click in the right place... Or maybe it's the sporns...

Charity Lyn Bedoy: Shady has a pill for that


That was a nice natural ending to the post. . . though the discussion continued.  I encourage you to read the rest of it in its entirety at

On that page you’ll see Shady’s real name, so I'm not sure why I bothered protecting it.  And I want to say this:  I have read some information on Protandim.  I can’t tell you whether it will help your child/dog/horse/other mammal’s oxidative stress.  But if you’re interested, look into it.  I am NOT.  This post, despite obvious hilarity, is not meant to say that the product does not work.  

Is it my opinion that it does not?  Absolutely.  Am I qualified to make that sort of judgement?  Meh. . . probably not.  So take my mockery with a grain of salt.

Peddling hope is cutthroat business.  Shady’s fallback position was always “watch the video!”  That’s good.  Because she only ever really said Protandim helped HER, and because she never claimed cures and essentially fell back to “watch the video” and “do the research” I can’t really fault her TOO much.  Her advice is sound.  DO THE RESEARCH.

But. . . don’t come to me with your demands to look into the miracle cure du jour (aka sporn flushing) and expect my prompt obedience and resultant happy dance at the news.  There are too many OTHER miracle cures people are rushing to market that I ALSO need to research. 

And to quote Miracle Max, “You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.”